Launch Pawty, Staffy B, Baldock, Sat 18 Aug
On Sat 18 August, Baldock’s brilliant Staffy B Homestore launches the Blacknose Foundation to raise money for dogs in need of a helping paw. The shop’s mascot and ambassador was Freddie the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, aka Blacknose, who sadly died last year. He is missed by everyone, most of all his owners, Toni and Hayley Moore, who are the talented duo behind this interiors and gift shop. Some people would visit the shop just to see Freddie. To keep Freddie’s memory alive, Toni and Hayley are doing something creative and positive. Blacknose is their own range of products and the first items to be launched include a range of candles and diffusers and ethically sourced Indian textiles. 10% of every purchase will go to the Blacknose Foundation to help support dog charities including Glendee and Senior Staffy Club Rescue. I absolutely love Staffy B and was lucky enough to meet Freddie, and I’m delighted to support the Blacknose Foundation. See you at the Launch Pawty, Sat 18 Aug, 9.30am-3pm.
Meraki, St Albans, Fri 10 – Sun 12 Aug
Meraki is back for its second year and the line up is starry with names old and new. All Saints, Pixie Lott, Morcheeba, Gabrielle, 10cc, Nik Kershaw and loads of local artists will be on stage to get you dancing and jumping for joy. Herts Showground, AL3 7PT
Art in Clay, Hatfield House, Fri 17 – Sun 19 Aug
No, that’s not a Party Ring biscuit – it’s made of clay. It’s time for potters and ceramicists to come out of their studios and meet the public. This is a hugely popular show and there are loads of opportunities to have a go at throwing your own pot.
Show Women private view (all welcome!), Gibberd Gallery, Harlow, Thurs 9 Aug and then until 27 Oct
A collaboration between Harlow’s Gibberd Gallery and the Jerwood Collection. Show Women includes painting, sculpture, film and installation by contemporary women and non-binary artists. Victoria Sin, BP Portrait Award winner Aleah Chapin, and Rose Wylie will be on display alongside a special interpretation of the Sir Frederick Gibberd 20th Century Watercolour collection, reflecting upon the changing landscape for women’s work over the last 100 years. 7pm. Gibberd Gallery, Civic Centre, Harlow, CM20 1WG
Musical Mystery Tour, Hertford, Sun 26 Aug
First things first: this is a free musical festival. Yes, that’s right. FREE! The county town will be alive with the sound of music from dawn ’til dusk – with hundreds of artists playing in 40 venues. Funk, punk, jazz, reggae, classical and rock. Sounds fab.
Oklahoma! Gordon Craig Theatre, 28 Aug – 8 Sept
Oh What a Beautiful Mornin’ it is in Stevenage! West End pizzazz comes to Herts with the Gordon Craig’s annual summer musical. Singalong with Rodgers and Hammerstein and dance in the aisles if you feel the urge.
First Impressions, St Albans Museum + Gallery, until 12 Aug
If you haven’t been to see this exhibition, I think you should visit immediately! I had no idea that St Albans was such an important location for early printing. It’s beautifully curated and I’ve been back three times.
Handel & Hendrix, Fri 24 Aug
Live music, DJs, go-go dancers, psychedelic light and film projections, a pop-up photo exhibition and more at the summer Friday Late at 23 Brook Street, Mayfair. A celebration of all things Hendrix, inspired by Jimi’s headlining slot at the legendary Isle of Wight Festival in 1970. 7-10pm. £25.
Writing for magazines, The Settlement, Letchworth, Mon 13 Aug
Learn how to write features or short stories for magazines with tutor Elizabeth Barber. For everyone from beginners to experienced writers. Take a packed lunch! Cakes and drinks are provided. 1oam – 3pm. £25.
Cool Britannia, Knebworth House, Fri 31 Aug – Sun 2 Sept
A line up to top all line ups. And this is just for starters: Happy Mondays, Heather Small, Ocean Colour Scene, The Lightning Seeds, Jazzie B, The Britpop Collective. You can camp, glamp, wave your hands in the air and boogie with a burrito in hand. Knebworth House is celebrating with a 3-day bumper music festival and doing what it does best. Book your tickets now!
Very Vintage Day, Little Hadham, Sat 4 Aug
Slather on some lippy and get ready to dance. It’s an all day party in a barn. Little Hadham. 10am onwards.
Book for: Classic Ibiza, Hatfield House, Sat 1 Sept
Here we go! It’s the biggest dance party of the summer! In Hertfordshire, at least. The Urban Soul Orchestra conducted by Stephen Hussey return for another fantastic performance of classic Ibiza anthems under the stars, with live DJ and vocalists.
Dr Dolittle, Knebworth House, Thurs 9 Aug
An old tale with a pertinent and current message about responsibility towards animals and the environment. Dr John Dolittle of Puddleby-on-the-Marsh starts out as a human doctor, but once his wise old parrot Polynesia teaches him how to talk to animals he becomes the most celebrated veterinary doctor in England. Meet Jip the dog, Chee-Chee the monkey, Dab-Dab the Duck and permanently hungry Gub-Gub the pig, as they set forth on a mission to heal illness, right wrongs and gain a greater understanding of the animal kingdom. And all in the wonderful sunken gardens at Knebworth House. Gates open 6pm. Performance begins 7pm.
Hitchin Lavender, now with sunflowers! Cadwell Farm, Ickleford
They’ll be gone before you know it so make a trip before the middle of August – you’ll regret it if you don’t! The cakes in the cafe are delicious – I was there recently and scoffed a courgette and lime cake. The whole place is a riot of colour and fragrance. It’s amazing!
Vegan Food Fair, Westminster Lodge, St Albans, Mon 27 Aug
The first ever vegan festival in St Albans. Over 60 stalls celebrating fabulous vegan food and drink, beauty products and clothes. Sounds good. Westminster Lodge, Hollywell Hill, St Albans, AL1 2DL. 10am-4pm.
Great & Small, Broadway Gallery, Letchworth
Great + Small is the ultimate family-friendly exhibition because it’s designed for children. Kids love animals, so what better way to introduce them to the art of craft? This exhibition has been designed and curated by Broadway Gallery in Letchworth using objects on loan from the Crafts Council. When it leaves Letchworth, the exhibition will go on tour. But you don’t have to worry about that for now. It opens on Sat 28 July and runs until October. It’s a brilliant way to encourage children to be inspired by contemporary crafts and materials. On Weds 8 August there’s a Hands On event, when a Crafts Council educator will run workshops so that children can get their mitts on the exhibits: wooden snakes, enamel beetles, resin cats. And don’t panic, you won’t have to turn your kitchen into resin studio, there’s a Family Arts Studio workshop on Sunday. Can you believe that all of this is FREE.
Disney in the West End Summer Pop-Up, Convent Garden, until 26 Aug
If you’ve got a child with mini jazz hands, they will go nuts for this free pop-up experience in London’s Covent Garden. See the masks, costumes and puppets from The Lion King and step inside Aladdin’s cave to get a photo with the legendary lamp. There will also be events taking place each day, including a Mac make-up demonstration, a puppetry display, plus singing and dancing workshops.
Scoop: A Wonderful Ice Cream World, The British Museum of Food, London, until 30 Sep
Finally! A valid excuse to stuff my face. The British Museum of Food returns with its first major exhibition Scoop: A Wonderful Ice Cream World. Dedicated entirely to the frozen treat, explore memorabilia from the world’s largest collection of ice cream paraphernalia, discover the neuroscience behind it and try scoops of bygone eras, from daffodil to all-day-breakfast flavour (hmm). Other highlights include ice cream-flavoured weather (vanilla fog!) and a glow-in-the-dark concoction that you can eat in a futuristic luminescent cave. Pass the ladle, I’m going in…
Little Shop of Horrors, 3 Aug – 15 Sep & Dinosaur World Live, 14 Aug – Sep, Regents Park Open Air Theatre
This off-beat musical about a florist shop assistant who pines for his work colleague but doesn’t know how to win her heart or what to do to sate the appetite of a human-eating plant looks great fun. Matt Willis from Busted fame, drag queen Vicky Fox, Jemima Rooper and Marc Antolin star in the OTT show that seems perfect for summer in the lovely setting of Regent’s Park (Brucie bonus – the theatre boasts the longest bar in the West End!).
Zip Now London, Archbishops Park, Lambeth, until 9 Sep
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Nope it’s a human torpedo whizzing down a 738ft wire, 100ft (9 double decker buses!) above Archbishop’s Park at 50mph. Beats the tube any day of the week. What we’ll do to avoid our faces been wedged in someone’s sweaty armpit. Get yourself down to South Bank, climb to the top the tower and wheeeeeeee. Suitable from 8+
Kids Week, various London locations, throughout August
This August, children aged 16 or under can get FREE theatre tickets to selected performances across London (when accompanied by a paying adult). There is a huuuge selection of shows to choose from including Sound and Sourcery at The Vaults, an immersive music concert experience inspired by Disney’s Fantasy. Under Waterloo station, collect your headphones at the door and step inside the tunnels where you will dance with a funky hippo, walk in a prehistoric wasteland, seek out the fairies in a magic forest and sneak into the Sorcerer’s lair. Over at the National Theatre, the Star Seekers need help saving their space station in this interactive 50 minute show for 3 – 8 year olds. Or for older kids, Pressure at the Ambassador’s Theatre is a funny and tense play about the D-Day landings.
Film4 Summer screen, Somerset House, London, Thurs 9 – Weds 22 Aug
If you can make it into London, head for the popular Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House. Featuring a mixture of premiers, old classics and recent hits, the venue’s fountain courtyard is a corker of a setting on a balmy summers evening in the capital. Highlights include the opening night premiere of The Wife introduced by Glen Close, Call Me By My Name on 20 Aug and Selma on 21 Aug.
All Too Human: Bacon, Freud and a Century of Painting Life, Tate Britain, London, until 27 Aug
This fascinating exhibition All Too Human celebrates the painters in Britain who have tried to capture human figures, their relationships and surroundings, in paint. With works by Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon(including 3 of his works which have not been shown in Britain for decades) amongst others, the intimate representations of reality make for a powerful experience. Catch it while you can.
Book for: Amazing Bubble Man, Broadway Theatre, Letchworth, 1 Sept